Get rid of those Stretch marks!
1. Causes of stretch marks
2. Types of stretch marks
A common problem for both men and women, stretch marks are stubborn and tend to have an effect on people’s confidence. Whether it’s due to pregnancy or sudden weight gain, this is one beauty woe that can be commonly seen on waist, thighs, lower backs, hips, breasts, arms, and buttocks. Typically, stretch marks appear as bands of parallel lines on your skin. These lines are a different color and texture than your normal skin, and they range from purple to bright pink to light gray. They occur when the dermal layer of the skin is suddenly stretched, as in the case of pregnancy. The dermis has strong, inter-connected fibers that let your skin stretch as your body grows. Sudden weight gain results in the skin overstretching and the fibers breaking which ultimately causes stretch marks. When the dermis tears, the blood vessels under the skin show, making the stretch marks appear red or purple initially. Later, when the blood vessels get smaller, the pale-coloured fat under your skin becomes visible; and the marks turn silvery white in colour. While, they aren’t an indication of ill health, there are a number of natural remedies that can help lighten and get rid of stretch marks.
Causes of stretch marks
Most women develop stretch marks during pregnancy as the fibers in the skin become soft and stretches, making room for the developing baby. As the baby grows, stretch marks appear on the tummy, thighs and breasts due to the continual tugging and stretching.
During puberty, youngsters experience a sudden growth spurt and might rapidly gain or lose weight. This sudden stretching and contracting of skin leads to stretch marks on hips, thighs and breasts.
3. Weight gain
Stretch marks occur due to weight gain in a short period of time as the skin stretches suddenly. Similarly, they also appear if you are on a diet, due to the fluctuating weight. It is therefore advisable to lose weight gradually so that the skin is not strained.
Corticosteroid creams, lotions and pills used to treat certain skin diseases can also cause stretch marks as they bring down the collagen levels in your skin. This decreases the skin’s ability to stretch and makes you prone to developing stretch marks.
If your parents have had stretch marks, then you are most likely to have them too.
6. Health conditions
Rare health conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos and other adrenal gland disorders cause stretch marks due to various reasons. In Cushing’s syndrome, the body tends to overproduce the hormone cortisol, which causes these marks. Meanwhile, Marfan syndrome is the result of a faulty gene that makes the body's skin and connective tissues weak, reducing their elasticity, thus increasing the chances of developing stretch marks.
7. Body Building
Body builders very commonly face this problem of stretch marks. Rapid growth in muscle mass and sometimes misuse of anabolic steroids to accelerate the growth of muscle lead to the appearance of stretch marks.
Types of stretch marks
1. Red stretch marks
Also known as striae rubra, these stretch marks are fresh and appear reddish or purplish at the initial stage. They are formed when the dermal layer of the skin is stretched, letting the blood vessels show. At this stage, you may experience a lot of itching around these stretch marks. It is easier to get rid of red stretch marks faster because they are new.
2. White stretch marks
Also known as striae alba, these are the most stubborn and appear white or silverish in colour. The tiny tears on the skin occur when the blood vessels reduce in size, thus making the fat under the skin visible. Since the white stretch marks are mature, it might take longer treat it.
Home remedies to treat stretch marks
1. Argan oil
Vitamin E enriched Argan oil increases the elasticity of skin and rubbing it on the stretch marks might heal the broken tissues gradually making the marks fade.
2. Lemon juice
Lemon juice is known for its natural bleaching properties, so it helps reduce the visibility effectively. Use fresh lemon juice daily or simply rub a sliced lemon wedge on your marks to see results.
3. Egg white
High in proteins and amino acids, egg white is a super food for the skin. When applied on stretch marks, egg white will help lighten the marks while also tightening the skin
4. Potato juice
Potatoes contain starch and other skin lighting enzymes which is why they are often used to lighten dark circles, spots and blemishes from the skin. It bleaches the skin and effectively reduces the visibility of stretch marks when applied regularly.
5. Olive oil
Rich in moisturising properties, olive oil is full of antioxidants and other nutrients that are exceptionally good for repairing skin damage. Application of cold pressed olive oil on stretch marks will help them fade over time.
Mix sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice and mix to form a scrub. Apply it to the stretch marks and rub it in for 10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
7. Castor oil
Apply castor oil directly on the stretch marks and massage it in a circular motion for 15-20 minutes. After massaging, cover the area with thin cotton cloth and apply some heat using a heating pad. For best results, do this as often as you can for a month.
8. Aloe vera gel
Remove the outer layer of the aloe vera leaf and take out the sticky gel from the inside of the leaf. Use this aloe vera gel on stretch marks and wash off with water after 2-3 hours.
Grind 2-3 apricots after removing their seeds to form a smooth paste. Apply the paste directly on the stretch marks. Leave it for 20 minutes. Then, rinse it with lukewarm water.